Giulietta degli spiriti
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“I remember I had some exaltation about color. I see colors not like they are normally – we see colors in the object. In this case, I saw colors, just as they are, detached from the object. I had for the first time the feeling of the presence of the color in a detached way.”–Federico Fellini
PLOT: Juliet, a wealthy housewife, has reason to suspect her husband is cheating on her. She has always been attuned to the spirit world, and after a seance she begins seeing visions and hearing voices; one of the whispering entities tells her that her neighbor, the strange, sexually liberated Suzy, will be her teacher. As her marriage disintegrates, her visions become harder to distinguish from reality, until Juliet snaps and banishes the spirits.
- Fellini’s first feature-length color film (although his short segment for the 1962 anthology film Boccaccio ’70 was in color.)
- Fellini took LSD (in a clinical setting) for inspiration in making this film. He found it “a little disappointing.”
- Some of the biographical details of onscreen Juliet’s stories come from Giulietta Massina’s own experiences in her marriage to Fellini. The house seen in the film is the couple’s real house.
INDELIBLE IMAGE: Juliet of the Spirits parades a host of bizarrely costumed Felliniesque grotesques across the screen in its 130 minutes, but aside from the perpetually smiling eye-of-the-storm Masina, the one who makes the biggest impression is buxom, bodacious Suzy (Sandra Milo). In one of the movie’s unforgettable scenes, she disrobes (offscreen) in the blink of an eye to demonstrate one of the hedonistic accoutrements in her bordello-like haven: a slide winding directly from her bedroom to her personal post-coital swimming pool.
TWO WEIRD THINGS: Hermaphrodite swami reception; faceless purple nuns
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Like his previous 8 1/2, Juliet of the Spirits is a Fellini trip where dreams and fantasies—the more baroque and colorful, the better—intrude into reality as a way to explore the psychology of the film’s protagonist.
Original trailer for Juliet of the Spirits (1965)
COMMENTS: Juliet of the Spirits is transitional Fellini—most obviously, in updating the director’s palette to the full color spectrum, Continue reading 23*. JULIET OF THE SPIRITS (1965)